Despite expressing distaste for the new law, some GOP governors have endorsed an expansion of Medicaid, and three — Jan Brewer of Arizona, John Kasich of Ohio and Rick Snyder of Michigan — are trying to persuade their Republican-controlled legislatures to go along. The governors are unwilling to turn down Washington’s offer to spend millions, if not billions, in their states to add people to the state-federal program for the poor. But they face staunch opposition from many GOP legislators who oppose the health-care law and worry that their states will be stuck with the cost of adding Medicaid recipients.It's where the ideology that says all government is bad government meets the reality for an executive who has to be responsible for balancing budgets. Brewer's argument is wholly practical, wholly based on the economics of the health care jobs that will be created by the expansion as well as the budget infusion it provides. Taking the money helps balance budgets now, and it means that individual states will save millions in the future by not having to cover uncompensated health care of the uninsured.
In one of the most explosive of the internal Republican battles, Brewer, a firebrand tea party favorite who once wagged her finger at President Obama, has declared a “moratorium” on all other legislation until her Medicaid plan, which would add 300,000 Arizonans to the program, is approved. She has backed up her threat by vetoing five unrelated bills.
In Ohio and Michigan, the governors are pressing for last-minute compromises before their legislatures adjourn this summer. The Florida legislature, which has adjourned, rejected Republican Gov. Rick Scott’s plan to expand Medicaid.
But some Republican governors, like Texas's Rick Perry, are more immune to reality that others, it turns out.